MINNEAPOLIS (AP) For three quarters, the Tulsa Shock did a nice job of adding to recent frustrations for the Minnesota Lynx. Then everything changed, in a hurry.
Maya Moore had 19 points and 12 rebounds to help the defending champion Lynx snap a three-game losing streak with an 80-63 win over the Shock on Saturday night in the teams’ regular season finale. The Lynx trailed 61-59 early in the fourth quarter before going on a 19-0 run to put the game away.
”We kept trusting the game plan, trying to make Tulsa take tough shots and rebounding the ball,” said Moore, who scored in double figures in every Lynx game this season. ”Doing that gave the offense a little pep in our step and on the offensive end, we shared the ball.”
All-Star forward Glory Johnson didn’t play for Tulsa one day after news broke of her engagement to Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner. Illness was the official reason given for Johnson sitting out. She averaged 14.7 points and 9.2 rebounds while starting the Shock’s first 33 games, including six points and one rebound in 11 minutes of Tulsa’s loss at Atlanta on Friday night.
Seimone Augustus added 14 points to help Minnesota (25-9) become the first team in WNBA history to have at least 25 wins in four consecutive seasons.
”To be the only team in league history to have that level of success over four seasons, and for us to do it this season with the adversity we’ve faced, I told them I’m very impressed and feel very honored to be a part of it,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ”They wanted it. I think you could tell. Obviously Tulsa was trying to stand in our way, but we hung in there.”
Minnesota, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, will open the playoffs at home on Thursday night against Los Angeles or San Antonio.
”It means a lot to be able to do this on our home floor, knowing we have to come back in here on Thursday and pick up where we left off,” Augustus said. ”We definitely wanted to close the season with a win.”
Odyssey Sims scored 31 points to lead Tulsa (12-22). She hit a 3-pointer with 9:41 to play, and the Shock didn’t score again until 1:14 remained in the game. Tulsa was outscored 21-5 in the fourth quarter.
”It was like there was a lid on the basket for us, and on the other it was a compound of calls that didn’t go our way, and there you go,” said Tulsa coach Fred Williams. ”The Lynx fed off that and got the crowd pumped up.”
The Shock outplayed Minnesota in both ends of the court over the first 20 minutes, opening up an eight-point lead twice, and holding a 43-37 lead at the break. Sims led all scorers with 21 at halftime – a total that included three 3-pointers. Moore led Minnesota in the first half with eight points.
”They got us over our turnovers,” Sims said. ”We didn’t get back into transition.”
The Lynx announced before the game that 11-year veteran forward Rebekkah Brunson has been signed to a multi-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not released.